It’s been said many times by many people, but the state of officiating in the Premier League is disgraceful — and does not appear to be improving. In today’s match between Brighton and Manchester United, there were several major errors, every one of which went in favor of the bigger club — which is par for the course in the PL, I’m afraid. Lisandro Martinez shoved Danny Welbeck right in the back in the box; no penalty, and VAR contrived not to see anything. Harry Maguire, already on a yellow, grabbed Leandro Trossard by the neck and threw him to the ground; ref didn’t see it, VAR didn’t look. Other calls were possibly defensible — an early offside call against Welbeck, a booking for Scott McTominay that probably should have been a red — but oddly enough, they went Man Utd.’s way also … and they still lost, which tells you what a shambles that side is right now.
As I’ve said many times, the ref in a modern top-level football match has an impossible job: the game is too fast and there are too many players. That’s why VAR exists — but in my experience, VAR gets calls wrong about as often as it gets them right. The Premier League makes so much money that it doesn’t care about any of this, but it ought to care.
Oh, one more thing: there’s talk that the VAR program will be turned over to the recently retired Mike Dean. Well, that would fix it! [cue maniacal laughter]